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I'm designing a desktop application interface that is to give the user to either chose a default value, a manually inputted value, or allow the user to chose from a list of predefined values.

I have built a test for this to illustrate my point (nothing fancy at all):

Default behavior:

Default Option

List behaviour:

List Input

My UX/UI question is the following: Should disabling the list clear out the elements in it, so not even the grayed out version of them is shown, or should disabling the list simply show the grayed out elements like in here:

Grayed out elements

I want to avoid confusion, reduce stimuli (the number of elements I am displaying to the user at once) while maintaining an elegant and clean look.

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2 Answers 2

up vote 1 down vote accepted

In the left part user makes decision with the radiobuttons. Having no information of which items are at the Hello option, how could he know if his decision right or should he choose another option?

So make list elements visible to avoid guessing.

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Sounds good Alexey, thanks. –  Alexander Ventura Jul 3 '13 at 17:46

The current example has a slight contradiction in terms on how the option's input control is shown: for the second option you have the input control at the bottom, while for the third option the input control occupies the entire right panel. This can be confusing as it doesn't seem clear which option affects the interactions with right list control (and I mean after a quick glance and ignoring the actual text for each of the options). Having a pattern like option (top) -> option-control (bottom) avoids associating any but the corresponding option with its input control.

On the subject of clearing/showing the list, I find hiding/showing the input controls for each option the proper approach: it will simplify the initial UI (the user is presented with only 3 radio buttons), and based on their choice you will display the corresponding sub-control without cluttering the display with unrelated input controls.

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